Bread is one of the most fundamental of foods.
Though it may appear to be out of favour at times, bread’s very name denotes staple nourishment, sustenance, subsistence, and even money. We all need ‘our daily bread’.
There’s a science to making bread and, at Burleigh Baker agricultural economist and ex-Strategic Director of Colgate Palmolive, Geoff Dance, is not only the business co-owner with his wife Lisa but also the driver of change.
“He’s the most loved man in Burleigh,” a passer-by tells me. “He’s in it for the love of it and we feel it.”
Looking more like a veteran athlete than ‘The Burleigh Baker’, Geoff’s knowledge of bread is legendary.
“I learned to make cheese about ten years ago,” Geoff tells us, explaining that a life of leisurely retirement lacked stimulation, encouraging him to seek out further learning. He soon realised that the same processes of cheesemaking should be applied to bread and, when the opportunity to begin a bakery in the community hub of Burleigh arose, he and Lisa jumped at the chance. Since that time, the food scene in Burleigh has grown exponentially.
Bread just isn’t bread, he tells us, explaining how it’s a diverse industry ranging from push button technology to an artisan craft, from pre-mix loaves to Burleigh Baker’s 24 to 38 hour-fermented sourdoughs.
Real sourdough bread making is driven by a knowledge of both fermentation and nutrition.
“Gut policy defines both the product and the processes,” Geoff explains. “We make good-tasting bread that’s healthy, pies with fermented pastry and cakes with a minimum of sugar.”
Naturally leavened and made with a slow cool fermentation process, Burleigh Baker’s sourdough is nutritious and highly digestible with great complex flavours. Using organic and sustainable chemical free flour, sea salt, chlorine free water and natural leavening agents, it’s bread that will help glucose levels to stay constant rather than spiking. All flour used in bread, pastry and cakes is lacto-fermented, all seeds and nuts are activated, and only grass-fed meat and free-range eggs are used at Burleigh Baker.
Organic, sustainable and local with no added chemicals or refined sugar, using natural butter, olive oil and coconut oil, Burleigh Baker’s pastries and pies are made from only the best ingredients.
There are two parts to the bakery: the shop, nestled under a poinciana at the top of James Street, Lisa’s domain where buttery croissants, sourdough pastries and pies are sold, and the factory at Varsity where everything is made.
As we sit talking outside the shop, Geoff points something out:
“You see how people carry their loaves?” he asks. “They carry bread to their heart. They intuitively know how good it is for them.”
It’s true. Great bread should not be the domain of the rich. It’s better to eat a smaller amount of ‘real’ sourdough bread that is good for us than a lot of cheap bread that carries little nutritional value.
Whether you drop in for breakfast and coffee or a classic Reuben for lunch, to buy a loaf of their large Country Miche, Burleigh Special or fruit loaf, stop and have a chat to staff about their bread. There’s so much we’ve yet to learn about the humble loaf!
Burleigh Baker, 50 James Street, Burleigh Heads Ph: 07 5659 1442
NOTE: This article was published in The Sun newspaper on 10 April, 2019.